Monday, January 31, 2000

ANNAPOLIS Legislators will consider some unusual topics this week, such as whether to make it illegal for a woman to breast-feed another’s baby without permission, or for anyone to dump a body in the woods.
The powerful Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee is scheduled Wednesday to hear testimony on the two bills that close loopholes in Maryland law.
Both bills were brought by Sen. James E. DeGrange, Anne Arundel County Democrat, who was prompted by two unsettling cases last year in his district that prosecutors say broke no laws.
In one, the mother of an 11-month-old child complained that another woman had been breast-feeding her baby at a day-care center in Jessup.
Investigators located a Glen Burnie woman who has a child at the center and saw the infant crying. No attendant was near, so the woman decided to feed the baby.
The Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office declined to file charges.
“It’s very disturbing that this woman breast-fed another person’s child,” spokesman Kristin Riggin said at the time. “But from what we can gather, there’s just no crime.”
Mr. DeGrange’s bill would prohibit a mother from breast-feeding another’s infant without permission. Violators would be slapped with a $100 fine.
Anne Arundel County prosecutors also declined to file charges against a father who stuffed his dead 4-year-old daughter in a garbage bag and left her in the woods near Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
State’s Attorney Frank Weathersbee said he was surprised to find that, if the child died of natural causes, Richard “Prince” Lee Marshall Jr. did not break the law by keeping his daughter’s death secret and disposing of her body.
Z’Aira Tri’ann of New Jersey had been buried in the woods of the county since December and her death went unreported. Mr. Marshall, 25, led police to the body after the girl’s mother filed a missing person’s report.
“I can’t believe you can just bury someone,” Mr. DeGrange has said. “It’s outrageous. Not only was he not going to bury the body properly, but not even on his own property.”
Prosecutors could have brought a charge of littering against Mr. Marshall, but refrained from doing so, saying it would have trivialized the girl’s death.
The bill before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee requires people with knowledge of the death of a child, household member or someone in their care to notify authorities. Violators would be guilty of a misdemeanor and face up to a year in prison.
The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee will hear testimony tomorrow on Gov. Parris N. Glendening’s proposals on how the state should spend its $1.5 billion share of a national settlement with tobacco companies.
The governor wants to spend about $300 million for an anti-smoking campaign targeting young people. He proposes using about $100 million to fight drug addiction. The governor wants to use $500 million on cancer treatment and research.
The rest of the money would be used primarily for education and to help state tobacco farmers.
Two bills that are intended to adapt Maryland law to the age of electronic technology will be the subject of a hearing Thursday before committees of the Senate and House of Delegates.
The bills will provide a framework for conducting business on the Internet. They will allow businesses and customers to enter into binding electronic contracts.
The bills, sponsored by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., both Democrats, are part of a package of technology legislation introduced by legislative leaders and Mr. Glendening.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide